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Produce group applauds extension of food safety deadlines

Opinion

The extension and clarification of compliance dates released Aug. 23 by FDA, combined with the draft guidance documents released Aug. 23-24, enable the fresh produce industry to better understand how to comply with the applicable rules. We appreciate that FDA heard and responded to our concerns and requests.

logo United Fresh D.C. ConferenceFDA recognizes that packinghouses should have the same amount of time to prepare for regulatory compliance regardless of whether they are located on or off a farm. The extended compliance dates for packinghouses subject to the Preventive Controls Rule, beginning Jan. 26, 2018, allows us time to continue to work with FDA and the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance to develop a modified curriculum for these unique types of operations that are critical parts of the fresh produce supply chain.

With the first compliance deadline for the Preventive Controls Rule less than a month away, our members continue to ask questions about which rule(s) they are subject to.

We are hopeful that the draft guidance pertaining to industry classification for farms and facilities released Aug. 24 will provide examples that help the fresh produce industry understand which rules apply to them.

United Fresh looks forward to reviewing the draft guidance on classifying farms and facilities, as well as draft guidance supporting implementation of the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule. We will continue to work with FDA to ensure that the rules are practical and in the best interest of public health.

Editor’s note: Tom Stenzel is president and CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association in Washington D.C. He has been with the organization for more than 20 years. The annual United Fresh Washington Policy Conference is set for Sept. 12-14 and registration is open. The agenda includes meetings with members of the U.S. House and Senate. Scheduled seminars include “The Food Police Are Coming – Liability Concerns and DOJ Enforcement.”

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